Over, Under, Forward, Back features ten contemporary artists working in fibers, textiles, and related materials whose work embodies and reflects on labor, time, and history.
Whether working with yarn, thread, found fabric, recycled clothing, fishing line, or plastic netting, contemporary artists working in fibers, textiles, or related traditions utilize materials that are also ubiquitous in daily life. They circulate as commodities in the form of clothing and home goods, are handed down as family heirlooms, and are connected to cultural traditions that have often thrived outside the realm of fine art as it is conventionally defined.
Due to this ubiquity, which extends across a variety of cultures and historical time periods, fibers and textiles have an especially active symbolic life, embodying a trove of memories, histories, and cultural connections that impact the way artists and viewers alike experience and understand them. From the circulation of commercial textile and fabric goods, such as clothing, to diverse traditions of hand-making, often coded as women’s work, fibers-based media and techniques for manipulating them are tied to history, to economics, to community, and to family tradition. These connections have inspired and attracted the artists of Over, Under, Forward, Back, who embrace the techniques of the past, experiment with new means of production, utilize non-traditional materials, and mine their own personal and family histories for connections to their work.